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Ex-priest who killed nun dies in prison after plea rejected

(Reuters) - An ex-priest convicted of murdering a nun died behind bars on Friday, a day after a federal judge rejected his plea for compassionate release for his final days, a spokesman for Ohio's governor said.

Retired Roman Catholic priest Gerald Robinson, 76, who was serving a life sentence for the 1980 stabbing, died early on Friday, the spokesman for Governor John Kasich said in an email.

Robinson, who had suffered a heart attack in May and was not expected to live more than two months, had asked to be released from a prison hospice into the care of his brother and sister-in-law for his last days.

But on Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Gwin said the federal courts had no jurisdiction over the request.

Robinson was convicted in 2006 of killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, in Toledo.

The crime was unsolved for years until authorities, using updated forensic techniques, found new evidence and identified additional witnesses. The case went to trial in April 2006.

Under Ohio law, inmates serving life sentences for murder are not eligible for early release, leaving the only alternative a request to the governor for clemency.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Gunna Dickson in New York)

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